Numbers are big, documents are detailed, and time is short. So I've summarised this year's extraordinary Budget for you in one word. Jobs.

The Budget sets out the plan to deal with the global economic shock caused by Covid-19. It is unfolding over three phases: respond, recover, rebuild. The response phase was immediate and has a big health focus, as well as funding to keep workers connected to their jobs through the wage subsidy.

Then the economic recovery is where businesses get back on their feet with targeted government support, sector by sector.

Longer-term, we embark on the nationwide rebuild, where we hit the reset button to get our country on an even stronger footing. Infrastructure investment in houses, ports, road and rail is a big part of this. So are innovative ideas like new export opportunities, more e-commerce, digital transformation, and regional development.


In the past two months I have watched in dismay as authorities in the US dig mass graves and newspapers in Italy publish page after page of obituary notices, filled with photos of a generation of loved ones.

At the time of writing this we had achieved four consecutive days without a single new case of Covid-19. New Zealand, take a collective bow. We did it together. We know the lockdown was tough. But it was the right call, and a huge 92 per cent of the country say they agreed.

I've spent the past week talking to businesses around the country, via video linkups over Facebook Live and Zoom. But I've also been working closer to home, here in Hawke's Bay, to ensure workers and businesses know about the support we are giving them.

One of the Budget announcements I'm most proud of is actually one of the most modest, money-wise.

I have lost count of the times people have said to me how much they miss the opportunity to do night classes. We have restored funding for adult community education.

It's been 10 years since the previous government stripped it away. Many people who went to night classes say it helped them get new jobs. Some even went on to more formal training or studies.

Night classes are so important now as we rebuild after Covid-19.

They offer a second chance at education, people learn new skills and gain confidence, they provide social connection for those who are isolated, and help integrate new arrivals to the region. We're investing $16 million and hope to get more than 11,000 people back into these night schools.


There are other Budget funding decisions that will specifically help businesses and households in Hawke's Bay recover from the once-in-a-century economic shock caused by the global pandemic.

The wage subsidy will be extended. There is drought relief for the primary sector, interest-free loans for small businesses, faster payments of small business invoices, and support for small businesses to move into e-commerce.

There will be new houses built, workers deployed into conservation and biosecurity projects, shovel-ready infrastructure will get started, and there's a huge new fund for restarting tourism. The Provincial Growth Fund is pumping millions into our region.

And for ordinary households and communities, there will be many more apprenticeships. Trade training in critical industries will be open to all, no matter what age or stage in life. There are free school lunches and new jobs for those who will make the lunches. Community sports organisations and professional sports codes get new funding. This includes womens' sports and surf lifesaving, who have been poor cousins in the past.

The Budget is about supporting businesses, growing jobs, helping our communities and reopening our economy. We will rebuild this country together.

Stuart Nash is the MP for Napier and Minister of Police